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Primera División

  • 3 December 2011
  • • 19:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 76000
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Barcelona 5-0 Levante: Fabregas, Sanchez, Cuenca & Messi all on target as Pep Guardiola's men keep pressure on Real Madrid ahead of Clasico

Barcelona 5-0 Levante: Fabregas, Sanchez, Cuenca & Messi all on target as Pep Guardiola's men keep pressure on Real Madrid ahead of Clasico

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The former Arsenal midfielder's first-half brace opened the floodgates for Pep Guardiola's men who ran out convincing winners to move within three points of their bitter rivals

Barcelona were convincing winners as they defeated Levante 5-0 at Camp Nou to keep the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the table ahead of next weekend's Clasico.

Cesc Fabregas grabbed a brace before Isaac Cuenca gave the home team a 3-0 lead at the break. Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez completed the rout in the second half.

The result leaves Pep Guardiola's men three points behind Madrid who have a game in hand over their fierce Catalan rivals while Levante remain in fourth spot.

Barcelona started the game brightly and were a goal to the good after only four minutes. Lionel Messi found Andres Iniesta who saw his intuitive back-heel fall to the feet of Fabregas on the edge of the Levante penalty area. The former Arsenal man controlled the ball before carefully placing it into the bottom corner of the net.

In the 20th minute the Catalan club could have doubled their lead, but Gustavo Munua was on cue to deny the home side. Messi's free-kick from 20 metres forced the Uruguayan goalkeeper to punch the ball clear. However Carles Puyol could not make clean contact from close range, with Munua eventually claiming the ball cleanly.

The lead was doubled in the 33rd minute and it was Fabregas again who got the better of Munua. Xavi whipped an inviting free kick into the box and it was the former Gunner who leapt highest to power his header into the top corner, leaving the 'keeper helpless as Barcelona grabbed a rare goal from a set-piece.

Guardiola's men were three up in the 37th minute with a wonderful team goal that was coolly finished by youngster Isaac Cuenca for his second Barcelona goal. Messi slid the ball to Iniesta after a clever run and the Spain international quickly moved it to Cuenca just inside the box for the winger to strike into the bottom corner - an instinctive finish from the Masia youth product that gave his team a comfortable lead at the interval.

Barcelona were 4-0 up in the 55th minute when Messi grabbed his 17th Liga goal of the season to draw level with Cristiano Ronaldo. Substitute Dani Alves slid a precise through ball to the 24-year-old who made no mistake in slamming the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

In the 61st minute the home side were devastating on the counter-attack to make it five. Messi found Sanchez just inside the box in a yard of space. The Chilean attacker controlled the ball before lifting the ball over Munua via a slight deflection off Asier Del Horno for his third goal in a week.

Iniesta had a sixth goal controversially chalked off for offside in the 88th minute as the home side comfortably kept another clean sheet this season.

Barcelona are next in action on Tuesday evening when they face BATE Borisov in the Champions League at Camp Nou while Levante's next game is at home to Sevilla in La Liga in a week's time.

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